The Day After
I Was In Prison
Online Prison Ministry Newsletter
November 21, 2007
Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed

The Day After
By: Dale Recinella

Amendment One passed resoundingly in the November 5 referendum.*


Florida now has the dubious distinction of being the only state in America with the death penalty enshrined in its state constitution. I have received more than a few letters and phone calls in the wake of the elections. The following transcripts an average call.

“Did you see the results? What do you have to say now that you’ve seen the will of the people?”

“The will of the people is not aligned with God’s will. That means we must be an unholy people.”

“What kind of sour grapes is that? Democracy means majority rules. If the people vote for it, then that’s what’s right.”

“I thought you were a conservative?” my questions evidence surprise. “Have you become a liberal since last Tuesday?”

“What are you talking about? Of course I’m a conservative. I always vote conservative.”

“Voting conservative is a political matter. I thought you were a moral conservative. I’m surprised to find out I was wrong.”

“There you go again. What in blazes are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about moral certainty, about objective truth. Moral conservatives, at least to my understanding, have always held the baseline that truth is objective. It is not situational or relative. Truth cannot be decided by referendum. Relative truth is a liberal concept, at least morally.”

“I am not a liberal, and I resent your sour grapes.”

“If you think morality is determined by majority vote, then you are no conservative.”

“I didn’t mean that. I meant that the majority voted for what was right. That’s why Amendment One passed. We are a holy people. We did what was right.”

“Who says that was right? The Catholic Bishops are supposed to be the moral leaders for you and me. They asked us to vote against Amendment One. Are you claiming to be a higher moral authority than the Catholic Bishops of Florida?”

“That’s not a relevant question.”

“For every Catholic in Florida who voted in favor of Amendment One, that is the only relevant question.”

“Who died and left you to be Pope?”

“I’m not the Pope. But since you bring him up, the Pope is also against the death penalty. He has asked us Americans to abandon capital punishment. That seems clearly inconsistent with sticking it in our state constitution. Are you a higher moral authority than the Pope as well?”

“You don’t speak for God!”

“Do you see what’s going on here, friend? You want to argue with me as though the Church has been silent on this issue. Your argument isn’t with me. Your argument is with the Pope, the Bishops and the Catholic Catechism. You voted for Amendment One but you still want to call yourself a morally conservative Catholic. I don’t think you can do it. As far as I’m concerned, you’ve become a Cafeteria Catholic.”

“You are name calling. I am not a Cafeteria Catholic. I follow all the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

“Except the ones you disagree with—like the Church teaching on the death penalty. In my opinion, that makes you a Cafeteria Catholic.”

There is no response, but the line has not gone dead. It’s time to wrap this call.

“Look, as far as I’m concerned, the Pope, the Bishops and the Catechism express church teaching. And that teaching is my understanding of God’s will. The meaning of the word ‘holy’ is: to be aligned with God’s will. Voting for Amendment One went against that teaching and, therefore, against God’s will. So long as the will of the people of Florida is against the will of God, we are an unholy people. May God have mercy on us.”

*Update: Five years ago, in the statewide referendum of November 2002, Florida approved Amendment One, amending its constitution to insert the death penalty and placing restrictions on any attempts by the State Supreme Court to limit its application.



First published: The Florida Catholic, November 14, 2002 © 2002 Dale S. Recinella & The Florida Catholic. Used with permission. No further reproduction or republication without prior written permission. All rights reserved Used with permission. All rights reserved.
No further reproduction or republication without prior written permission.

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This ezine is targeted for people involved in prison ministry or in stopping the death penalty, we think you will find helpful information for people who are undecided about capital punishment, for those who have never experienced the inside of a jail or prison, and for those who feel called to participate through prayer and adoration.

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Dale S. Recinella, Catholic Lay Chaplain, Florida Death Row and Solitary Confinement
Susan M. Recinella, Clinical Psychologist for mentally ill adults, and Catholic Lay Minister to Families of the Executed

If you Like this Weekly Ezine - You will love Dale's Book!
Sr. Patricia Proctor
Paperback: 433 pages

Excellent book on the topic!,
June 13, 2005 Nathan Eanes
(Review from Amazon.com)

The Biblical Truth about America's Death Penalty is a must-read. It deals with Biblical standards of Capital Punishment and then compares them to the system used in America today. It is the best-researched, most faithful to scripture, and most evenhanded analysis I have ever read concerning the Death Penalty. Whatever your persuasion on the issue, this book will teach you a great deal. Recinella is a trained lawyer and committed Christian who now volunteers part-time on Florida's death row. He thus understands law, the Bible, and the system of execution in America. I challenge anyone who supports the Death Penalty to read this book.



This ezine edited by Sister Patricia Proctor, OSC - Poor Clare Sister
to support the IWasInPrison Outreach